Title: La Catracha
Author: Pablo Yoder
Major Themes: Nicaragua, Biography, Child Abuse
Synopsis: Young Karla could not understand why her parents hated her, and why she had to endure so much pain and abuse; what a difference it made when she accepted God’s forgiveness and in turn forgave those who had misused her for years.
Pablo Yoder is one of my favorite authors. He is a missionary in Nicaragua; he grew up in Costa Rica. He has written a number of books about his family’s life and about the people he knows and loves in Latin America. I have thoroughly enjoyed each of his writings and La Catracha was no exception!
The story opens as Nicaragua is plunged into chaos when the dictator is forced to flee and the guerillas take over the country. A family who were known to be staunch supporters of the government flee for their lives to Honduras. While there for several years, a young mother whose husband had stayed behind got involved with a Honduran man and had two more children. Then, after several years, the way opened for them to return. The mother was afraid of her husband’s reaction to the two children, so she decided to say they were orphans she had taken in.
Young Karla was shocked when she learned the truth about her birth—that she wasn’t an orphan taken in out of the goodness of her mother’s heart after all, but an illegitimate daughter. However, it explained her stepfather’s animosity toward her. Life continued to get harder and harder, especially when her stepfather started coming in her room at night. Would the pain ever end? Did God care about her?
La Catracha wonderfully shows what God can do to heal a scarred, abused girl and bring a beautiful young lady out of sordid circumstances. The story is told carefully and discreetly, but not a book for children to read. I really appreciated it.
WARNING: Not for young children—the main character is abused in several different ways, although nothing explicit is described.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults